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The Storm

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4 stars Known as "the Spanish Deep Purple", The Storm (most Spanish people know them as just Storm) were formed in the Andalusian city of Sevilla in the late 60's by twin brothers Angel and Diego Ruiz (guitar and drums respectively and both sharing the duties as lead singers), their cousin Luis Genil (organ & backing vocals) and Jose Torres (bass & backing vocals). Their original name was Tormentos meaning Torments, but while doing gigs in Madrid the manager of the concert venue Barbarella suggested them to look for a more English-sounding name, and since the very similar Spanish word Tormenta means Storm the choice was made.

Storm became loved for their powerful live performances, they supported Queen in Barcelona in December 1974 and Freddie Mercury had only praises for them and was surprised that they did not have international exposure, he and Roger Taylor went personally to their dressing room to congratulate them and after having seen Diego's drum solo Roger did not dare playing his on that evening's show. Diego was indeed a great drummer and his solos were spectacular, he would leave the drumkit and continue soloing tapping with his feet and drumming on anything he could find with the drumsticks, and Angel's guitar solos were no less of a show, emulating Hendrix, Page & co playing his Strat with his teeth, a drumstick or a glass.

They played proggy hard rock much in the style of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin or Atomic Rooster, with the interplays between guitar and Hammond and a very powerful drumming being their signature features.

In 1974 they finally released this debut album, recorded basically live at Madrid's Audiofilm studio in a record time of 4 and a half hours. Most lyrics are in English interspersed with a bit of Spanish but clearly the lyrics were not the focus point. The original vinyl is highly priced in the collectors world.

I've Gotta Tell Your Mama and It's All Right are just hardrockers, not bad but not too interesting from a prog perspective. Then we have some hard rocking songs but which add some juice by incorporating some time signature changes or interesting shifts, these include I'm Busy, Woman Mine and I Don't Know. Great songs.

And then we have the three great instrumental tracks which are the real meat for proggers: Un Señor Llamado Fernandez De Cordoba (dedicated to their eccentric manager Jose Luis Fernandez De Cordoba) and Crazy Machine are all about great interplays between guitar and Hammond (Crazy Machine including a 2 min drum solo), and the closer Experiencia Sin Organo (Organ-less Experience) which is pure guitar delight in a Zeppelinesque style.

Fans of the best Deep Purple will love this one. Unfortunately the compulsory military service prevented them from staying alive from 1975 to 1978, and by that time the music scene had changed a lot, they would release a 2nd and last album in 1979 but with a rather different style and little success.

You can watch a 30 min performance on a 1975 spanish TV show here, just add http:// in front of this

Report this review (#783709)
Posted Saturday, July 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Despite forming in 1969, Spanish band The Storm didn't get around to releasing their debut s/t album for five years, and somewhat surprisingly the group, formed by brothers Ángel (guitars) and drummer Diego Ruiz, performed in English. However, the wait was worth it, as 1974's `The Storm' is a minor classic belter of ballsy heavy rock with a touch of psych and blues, all grafted to a keen pop edge and lively roaring vocals, with a couple of instrumental tracks worked in too, and its `proto-prog' fusion of Sixties/Seventies sounds is in the Hammond organ-dominated manner of Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster and Procol Harum among others.

Opener `I've Gotta Tell You Mama' is a punchy three-minute up-tempo rocking blast of energy, all Ángel's crunchy guitars, José Torres' thick slab bass, Diego's snappy drumming and Luis Genil's dense dirty Hammond backing an infectious chorus. The spiky `I Am Busy' is another brash rock n' roller with plentiful twisting grooves and shrieking vocal outbursts, but even better is `Un señor llamado Fernández de Córdoba', a chilled instrumental jam driven by guitars that move from dreamy ringing chimes to grumbly slow-burn bluesy meltdowns with just a touch of an early Pink Floyd/David Gilmour sound to them. Then there's a great raspy lead vocal and nice wiry guitar grooves with strangled acid-rock wailing soloing throughout the sweaty and sexy first side closer `Woman Mine', and dig that subdued little sparkling Hammond organ break in the second half that keeps getting belted with heavy bluster and noise!

Side B's `It's All Right' is a harmless hip-swivelling Hammond organ-coated groovy rock n' roller with a catchy group chorus, ditto the dirtier `I Don't Know' and its raucous lead vocal, mangled guitar noise with a little lightly jazzy break in the middle. The seven minute `Crazy Machine' offers another snarling improvised jam that also throws in purring jazzy breaks and spacey psych interludes, and it's crammed with endless widdly-diddly guitar tantrums, violent swirling organ washes and machine-gun fire drumming (Diego even charges into the `oh-so-Seventies' obligatory drum solo!). Fast and furious instrumental closer `Experiencia sin órgano' burns with a heavy bluesy strut and wraps the set on no shortage of howling guitar histrionics.

The Storm would release a gentler and more lightly proggy follow-up ` El Dia de la Tormenta (`The Day of the Storm')' at the end of the decade before splitting in the early Eighties, but their reputation is more or less sustained on the strength of this powerhouse debut rocker. It's not so much that the group were especially original, but what they did, they did damn well, and any band from the era that played in a similar style would have killed to have such a strong work in the discography! Great energetic playing and cool catchy tunes - what more could you want?

Four stars...and don't forget to play it LOUD!

Report this review (#1735785)
Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a Spanish five piece band that was founded in the early Seventies when three young guys met at school in Seville, the cradle of flamenco. But their music had nothing in common with Prog Andaluz (like Smash, Triana and Medina Azahara): they started to play covers from The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Guess Who. But soon after a fourth member on organ had joined and the band had changed their name from Los Tormentos into The Storm (in fact the English translation). In that time everybody was impressed by the progressive hardrock of Led Zeppelin and especially Deep Purple. The band too and decided to change their musical direction into a heavy rock sound, with omnipresent Hammond organ workby their new member. The Storm joined gigs with known Spanish rock bands Smash and Maquina! and gradually became pretty popular among the hardrock aficionados. In 1974 now five piece formation The Storm released their eponymous debut album, the single I've To Tell You Mama/It's Allright even reached the top in the Spanish charts! And The Storm impressed Freddy Mercury when they were support-act for Queen during one concert, the sky looked very bright. But unfortunately due to different reasons (like work overload, miliairy service and a changing musical taste in Spain) things didn't work out as planned and foreseen. In 1979 their second album entitled El Dia De La Tormenta was released but with a new bass player, and a hardly recognizable sound. So the history of The Storm was a heavy but short one you can cynically conclude.

On their debut album The Storm delivers mainly rock songs with simple (in general) English lyrics, heavy guitarwork and cascades of Hammond organ (great solos in Woman Mine and It's All Right), often Atomic Rooster (John DuCann line-up) comes to my mind because of the swirling Hammond organ, fiery electric guitar and exciting heavy climates. At some moments The Storm surprises the listener with interesting musical ideas. Like in the long and progressive Crazy Machine (biting wah-wah guitar and jazzy interlude with outstanding Hammond work), I Don't Know (break with swinging rhythm guitar and lush Hammond) and Experiencia Sin Organo (Black Sabbath meets Led Zeppelin with heavy guitar runs).

If you like Hammond drenched progressive hard rock like Atomic Rooster, Uriah Heep and Deep Purple, this band is worth to check out.

My rating: 3,5 star.

Other interesting (and often overlooked) Seventies Spanish prog albums: Franklin - Lice Cycle / Canarios - Ciclos / Las Grecas - Gypsy Rock / Atila - Intencion / Abedul - Nosotros / Azabache - Dias De Luna.

Report this review (#1937116)
Posted Monday, June 4, 2018 | Review Permalink

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